A workplace injury can lead to a loss of income at the same time that you are facing increased medical costs. Luckily, you do have options if you have been hurt on the job.
Almost every company will have an accident policy, even if it is an unofficial one. You'll want to activate the necessary chain of events as close to when you are ink=jured as possible. Don't wait to see if you feel better the next day. Even if you simply send an email documenting what happened, when, and where, you will have a record to fall back on.
That goes for all injuries, not just major ones that require immediate medical attention. Even if it seems minor, file an accident report with your supervisor. It can help you get assistance or medical care if you end up needing it, but there's also another side. Accident reports can highlight safety issues in the workplace that should be addressed. By reporting a minor injury, you might be saving someone else from experiencing a more serious one.
Start a file and put a copy of everything related to the injury in it. That means the accident report, any doctor's appointment notes and charges, and a list of phone calls with who you spoke to and what the outcome was. Add a copy of that email you sent to notify your supervisor about the accident, too. While you hope that the human resource department will keep track of everything, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Most, but not all, employees are covered by workers' compensation insurance. Some states have exemptions for certain categories of employees, so it is best to check whether or not you have coverage.
If you do have coverage, you should understand your rights in the system. If you feel like your employer isn't following procedure or is treating you unfairly, contact a workers' compensation claim lawyer to get the help you deserve. Workers' compensation can help pay for medical care and lost wages if you have to miss work for an extended period of time.
If you are hurt at work, you have the right to see a doctor and get evaluated. In a workers' compensation case, that care will be covered. You may be required to see a doctor chosen by the workplace, at least to start treatment.
If your doctor clears you for work, you have the right to return. Your employer cannot refuse your return if your doctor has cleared you to perform your job. Your doctor may grant you full clearance or limit you to light-duty tasks. If you are not cleared for the same position you had before the injury, you may not be guaranteed a position within the company.
If you are unable to return to work, you may need to consider filing for disability benefits. There are both long and short-term options depending on how long you will be out of work.
Start by checking your employee manual or talking to the HR department about what coverage the company has in place for you. In cases of total disability, you may also need to contact the social security administration about applying for social security disability benefits. The application process can take quite some time, so any coverage through your employer can help fill that gap.
In some cases, workers' compensation insurance will pay for vocational training programs. If you are unable to return to your previous job but are not disabled, this might be an avenue worth pursuing.
Sometimes accidents are caused by negligence or the acts of another person. If that applies to your workplace injury, you can consider filing a third-party claim against that person. Chances are you didn't go to work planning to get hurt. But, nonetheless, it happened. Learn and understand your rights and options so you can take the best care of yourself, get back to work as soon as possible, and get the benefits you are entitled to.
Publish Date: March 5, 2020 11:09 PM